Have you heard the saying that the only thing constant is change? Life is always moving and shifting. Summer can be a season of transition and change. You might be moving on from life as a college student to full on adulting with a full-time job. Your friend group is broken apart because everyone is heading off to do new things. A breakup may be “forcing” you into a new season of life and a new identity. Our therapists at Evanston Counseling have seven tips for dropping the anxiety and easing into harmony as you transition. Change can be less scary. Take a look.
What is a transition?
In a transition, life shifts and you have to adjust to new circumstances. Many things can trigger this change. It could be something that you’ve waited for excitedly, like getting married or graduating from college. A new job may be taking you across the country to a new city. Perhaps college life will be starting for one of your kids and your nest will be a little quieter. Or you could be at the other end of the mom journey and just welcomed a child into your life.
The triggering event could be totally out of your control like being fired or laid off from your job. In any case, you feel like the ground underneath you is a little less solid and you are searching for ways to reduce the anxiety and overwhelm.
Coping with Change
Life during your transition might bring on new emotions and behaviors. You might be depressed, stressed, or anxious, having difficulty sleeping, eating too much or too little, or turning to alcohol or recreational drugs.
At the Manhattan Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy they’ve identified 3 main reasons why life’s transitions are so emotionally staggering:
- You may have to up your energy levels in your new circumstances. When kids transition from school to summer, you have switched yourself on in different ways to manage their daily summer activities. This energy shift may tax you.
- Increased Stress
- The mundane things of life may bring you increased stress during transitions. If you’re starting a new job, you have procedures to learn and relationships to navigate. Your stress levels may skyrocket as you try to manage the numerous changes.
- The Unexpected
- You won’t welcome all transitions. The surprise nature of a change (i.e. the sudden death of a loved one) might leave you devastated, lost and fatigued.
We invite you to check in with one of our therapists. Evanston Counseling’s therapists can compassionately help you create coping strategies to manage the waves of emotions or feelings of overwhelm. They can guide you as you let go of any undesirable behaviors.
What can you do when life changes?
During transitions, it’s important to focus on who you want to be and what you want out of your life. It may be difficult to arrive at this point of clarity in your circumstances. We encourage you to persist as best you can. The rewards of your efforts are well worth it. Seek help from a therapist (we’re here for you!), a friend, family member or community leader.
Perhaps you’ve just given birth to your first child. Your life and identity are forever altered. You could find yourself thinking that you don’t measure up to some ideal of motherhood.
Take the time to think through your values, goals, and priorities in the context of this new change. What kind of mother do you want to be? What is this woman like?
This reflection will help you to identify any changes you want to make in your thoughts or behaviors. You can go forward with a sense of purpose and direction.
How can we manage the anxiety?
We want you to recognize that transitions are a normal part of life. Here are some tips for managing the anxiety that comes with transitions. They will help you ease into harmony with the changes.
Evanston Therapy Tip #1: Seek support from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support during the transition. Our therapists in Evanston are experts at working with you to reframe your thoughts around the transition. We can also help you to transform how you find meaning in your relationships.
Evanston Therapy Tip #2 See the transition as an opportunity for growth and learning. Your transition may put you in new situations. It could mean the chance for you to develop resilience or to acquire new skills.
Evanston Therapy Tip # 3: Take care of yourself physically by getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. As we’ve mentioned, so much of what you experience in a transition, you cannot control. Yet, working hard to sleep or eat well, and to exercise is (most of the time) within your control. You will think better and feel better.
Evanston Therapy Tip #4: Set realistic expectations for yourself and be patient as you adjust to the new situation. For example, if you’re establishing a new version of your life after the loss of a loved one, give yourself time to grieve and move slowly into your new reality.
Evanston Therapy Tip #5: Practice mindfulness and stay present in the moment. It can help to reduce anxiety and increase feelings of calm and control during times of change.
Evanston Therapy Tip #6 Practice self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Engaging in these activities will help to ground you.
Evanston Therapy Tip #7: Develop healthy coping strategies such as deep breathing, meditation, or journaling to help manage stress and anxiety.
Takeaway: Transitions are a normal part of life that can bring overwhelming anxiety and stress. Reaching out for support to develop coping strategies will help you achieve a sense of harmony amid the change.
Are you feeling the anxiety that comes with being in the middle of a transition? Call us at (773) 983-8444 for a free, 15-minute phone conversation to discuss how one of our therapists in Evanston would work with you. We will listen and direct you to the right person to help you with coping strategies for easing into harmony with the new changes in your life. Or you can schedule a time to chat with us here to learn how therapy can help you better manage your life transition.